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Mexican dinner party

I am planning a Mexican dinner party where my guests will actually participate in the meal prep and we will eat together - social cooking and eating. I will have about 6 people. I want to make something unique (but not so unique I can't find the ingredients) and will WOW them. Any ideas for a great Cinco de Mayo dinner party?

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  1. We are planning to make a Tex/Mex meal for Easter instead of the traditional ham etc.
    Right now our menu looks like this:
    Fajitas (chicken and beef), Black refried beans, Tortilla Soup, Sweet Corn Cake, chips and salsa and dulce de leche caramel served over vanilla ice cream.

    1. Enchiladas (using home made tortillas), refried beans, spanish rice, carnitas, and condiments is what I deliver to the table when I want to "wow" my guests. I learned to make all the stuff from my mother (except for the carnitas) and can now turn out 3 dozen flour tortillas, 2 dozen enchiladas, carnitas, beans and rice to feed 12 in about 4 hours. Your guests can be kept busy rolling and griddling tortillas, prepping the filling for enchiladas, prepping the tortillas, stuffing and rolling and cooking. Beans and rice can be done fairly simply, but it seems "unique" because not many people do it (well, not many people I know, although we all like to cook). I sometimes add chicken tacos (you can boil or grill the chicken), and a "salsa" that is really a salad, or at least eats like one. Long list of ingredients, lots of fun prep time, add some good beer or wine and this will be a dinner to remember! If you want all the details, including recipes, email me at gsshark2000@yahoo.com.

      1 Reply
      1. re: gsshark

        gsshark--I would be most grateful if you would post your recipes, if you wouldn't mind. I, too, have a celebration coming up for which I am planning to serve a Mexican menu.


      2. Tamales are the perfect social meal prep dish and they are not hard to make, just works better with a lot of hands. You can have folks in charge of prepping the filling and some in charge of the masa dough - it doesn't take long, and then roll them together in an assembly line. Or you can make the filling ahead of time and just roll together.

        Add a side of beans, a salad with jicama, cabbage, red peppers and a lime vinaigrette...

        We have also done a "cooking lesson" with a bunch of teenage boys having them make burritos from scratch. We did a pork filling (would be better slow cooked, but we were trying to make a point with them), refried beans, rice, and had them make the flour tortillas. They had fun and were so impressed with themselves. And these were kids that are not Latino but come from an area with a large Mexican population.

        1. Eat_Nopal would be a great resource for this party. My own suggestion would be for a few crowd pleasers: guacamole, salsas verde and roja, pico de gallo, refried beans and chips to assemble together and sustain you while putting together the main dinner.

          For the unique mains, you could avoid burritos and tacos and go for something special like cochinita pibil (pork roasted in banana leaf), carnitas (shredded pork confit), chiles rellenos or posole (hominy soup). Accompany the meal with tortillas, cactus salad, elotes and the previous accompaniments you were snacking on.

          8 Replies
          1. re: JungMann

            I had posole in New Mexico last year and found it quite fatty. Was that just a bad recipe they made? What are elotes? Cactus salad - I'm not sure I can find the ingredients in Calgary. I could contact a South American fellow who has opened More Than Mangoes and brings in exotic fruits. Maybe he can find me some cactus. I think it is a good idea to make a few snacks first and nibble while cooking the mains.

            1. re: sarah galvin

              Posole can be fatty, but it all depends on what cut of meat you use. You could use a pork shoulder or you could use cheeks, or loin or even chicken if you really wanted to cut back on fat.

              Elotes are normally a street food popular among Mexicans of roasted corn topped with mayonnaise, sour cream, butter, cheese, lemon and chili powder. It is a fantastic way to redefine a vegetable that I'm sure is as common in Calgary as in Mexico.

              Cactus salad is the same as nopalitos or nopales. If you cannot get fresh, you can get canned at Boca Loca Mexican market in Calgary.

              Also the chipotle crema mentioned below is a fantasic dip that can easily be transformed into an aioli. I don't know that it's common in Mexico, but that dip goes like wildfire when I make it. Also, for dessert you might consider some fruits sprinkled with chili salt or a chipotle-ancho chili chocolate mousse. The former is an authentic Mexican snack, the latter is a nouveau presentation of traditional Aztec chocolate.

              1. re: JungMann

                Pozole is generally made from, shall we say, less desirable cuts of meat. The soups do tend to be fatty because of it. I make pozole rojo using Rick Bayless' recipe as a base. However, I make my own stock from pig's feet and aromatics to produce a rich stock that doesn't have a lot of fat. It gets a great deal of collagen from the feet, creating a smooth mouthfeel without the grease. I use the meat from the pig's feet and supplement with smoked pork tenderloin.

                I've received rave reviews from everyone who's tried it. I can post my recipe later this week, since I'll be making it and can jot down the ingredients. Warning, I only know how to make large quantities!

                  1. re: sarah galvin

                    It's pretty easy...loosely based on Rick Bayless' Pozole Rojo recipe.

                    2 to 3 pounds of pigs feet
                    1 large white onion, quartered
                    2 stalks celery, rough chop
                    2 - 4 cloves garlic, unpeeled but smashed
                    4 quarts cold water

                    Combine in a large (12 qt or larger) stock pot and bring to a boil, skimming off foam. Reduce and simmer for several hours (I let it go overnight). Let cool intact for best texture or strain while warm if in a hurry. Strain broth when cool, discarding veggies and feet. If you want the meat from the feet, clean and chop for later addition to soup.


                    6 14 oz cans of hominy (Juanita brand is best) (I had to use store brand this time and the texture is not as good).
                    Pork Stock
                    8 - 9 dried ancho chiles, stemmed and seeded
                    1 - 2 pound pork tenderloin, seasoned and grilled or smoked, to your preferred taste. Dice to bite sized pieces and add to pig's feet meat, if using.
                    Salt to taste

                    Combine hominy, pork tenderloin and pork stock in a large stock pot. Bring slowly to a boil. In the meantime, cover chiles with hot water to cover (use the least amount of water possible). Keep submerged and soak for 20 - 30 minutes. Place chiles and soaking liquid in blender (in batches, if necessary) and puree. Pass chile paste blender to pot using a strainer (fine) to catch skins and seeds. Simmer for 1 - 2 hours, adding salt to taste during simmering period. Broth should be a rich burgundy color.

                    NOTE - Quantity of hominy is a personal choice. Soup should be brothy but not too brothy.

                    Note - Soup is BEST when cooked on day 1 and served on day 2 to allow flavors to bloom.

                    Serving Soup:

                    Ladle hot soup into serving bowls and pass garnishes, as desired.

                    Tortilla chips
                    Sliced Radishes
                    Shredded cabbage
                    Lime wedges

                  2. re: Dee S

                    You are right Dee - in fact, its traditionally made from the Pigs head! We have a Pozoleria down here in San Diego which I tried for the first time a week or two ago. Its wonderful

                    They give you the
                    > "Maciza" [meat] option
                    > "Surtido" [mixed] option

                    I opted for the ladder which contained lengua, oreja, cachete, paladar and some maciza thrown in for good measure. Here's my review:

                    If your worried about fat - I wouldn't add the magical chicharron - but for me it is a requisite accoutrement.

                    1. re: kare_raisu

                      I don't know if it's "traditionally" made from pigs head. Depends on where you come from. I learned to make pozole using pork neckbones. I later added cubed pork shoulder just for a richer soup. You let the neckbones and cubed pork cook until tender which is about 11/2 hours. Then you add the canned hominy (Mexican style is best and the closes thing to the fresh nixtamal that is traditionally used) that has been drained. Also add the red chile that you will be using, either canned or homemade and let it continue to cook for about 30 minutes. Serve with wedged lemon/lime, onions, cabbage, avocado and any other topping of choice. My mom would often add pinto beans cooked fresh from the pot. Serve with hot corn tortillas and slices of panela cheese.

                      1. re: Neta

                        I think the neck bones come from the head. I mentioned that maciza was added - which would be your shoulder. I am pretty anti-canned hominy - it is a travesty to the real deal - but I guess it will work in a pinch/

            2. There is nothing better than homemade tamales.

              If you have all your ingredients recipe for tamales, they are fun for family and guests to make. When I learned to make them my friend had brought over her sons and her husband to to enjoy the dinner when we were done. Although ours was an all day project, I needed to learn how to do it ALL so that I could make them by myself later.

              If you have your meats and sauces for red and green tamales ready, use masa that is already prepared and only needs broth worked in it, have the corn husks soaked, you will have the time of your life! Sitting around making these was very entertaining especially with a nice cocktail (not too many mind you) and you will really enjoy the freshness of the tamales. You can also make your own fillings not the traditional ones that I mentioned with pork and chicken. They are all good!

              4 Replies
              1. re: chef chicklet

                I have never made tamales. What original fillings could I possibly make? We barely have good Mexican food here. Would wild mushroom be good?

                1. re: sarah galvin

                  You can pretty much make custom tamales with anything. Masa dough with a little sauce, and then the ingredient of your choice.

                  If you made a ragu with the mushrooms that would be lovely!

                  Some people (not me) make them with sweet potato or yams. You could make them with just about any vegetable I would think.

                  1. re: sarah galvin

                    We made vegetarian tamales for Christmas. Masa dough using crisco instead of lard with corn, green chilies, onion, red bell pepper and cheese. We also made more traditional pork tamales with shredded spicy pork. We used the water from the pork to make the masa dough (colored it a nice pinkish-red) and gave the masa a lot of flavor.
                    Neither tamale was really spicy hot, just well seasoned. We save the heat for the green chile topping.

                    1. re: Pampatz

                      Yes adding the broth to the masa, is a must! It really makes such a difference. As someone else mentioned, whipping the masa and the lard/fat into the dough, add the broth, makes a delicate encasement for your filling of choice. I remember the last batch I made, and sitting there eating and making that "mmmmmm" sound with my husband.

                      It takes practice or watching someone that has made them many times to get it right. I think now after 10 years my tamales are there.

                      I prefer white corn for masa, but that is just a personal preference.

                2. totally agree about tamales as a great social thing -- anything that requires that much hand work away from heat/stove is perfect.

                  I worked with a couple friends on a similar dinner party, but much of the group work was done by four of us the night before -- like picking the meat off several boiled chickens for mole, pozole and chiles rellenos production, and I can't remember what else because I wasn't in charge. Must have been a big pot of beans in there somewhere.

                  Day of, I made fresh nopales salad while two other people were doing enchiladas - frying the tortillas and filling/rolling. Chopping chopping chopping fresh salsa ingredients...someone else cutting up a big fish in the sink for grilled fish tacos...we marinated skirt steak with onions and tomatillos for more grilled tacos
                  Fresh lime margaritas for a big crowd was a job in itself.

                  yum! have an awesome party!

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: pitu

                    What is nopales salad? Were these soft tacos that you were making?

                  2. Wow, what a lot of good ideas and really challenging for me. Can I really make tamales? And flour tortillas? Do I need a tortilla press? Actually, I am going to begin cooking classes in my home for 4-6 people and this is a practice run with my friends. I am giving a free cooking class and we can brainstorm ideas for my classes at the same time. I appreciate the ideas and I think I would be missing something if I didn't try the tamales with them.

                    23 Replies
                    1. re: sarah galvin

                      Hi. I make tamales all the time.
                      You really can make tamales, but you'd BETTER have prepped before hand.

                      1. Husks MUST be soaked.

                      2. The dough can be made at party, but please have a hand mixer at the very least. The premade dough is ok, but they never whip the fat enough so the tamales come out light and fluffy. The fat will have to be whipped for like 15 for the dough. If you start making tamales, you will REALLY notice the difference when the fat is creamed properly.

                      I would suggest you:
                      Have chicken and or pork precooked.
                      Have other tamale fillings on hand. (like your wild mushroom, perhaps refried beans, roasted peppers?)

                      Have your guests make salsas in the blender:
                      One habanero,
                      one green
                      one with roasted veggies (peppers,tomato, onion, garlic)

                      Then, mix the meats with the salsas, say pork with hot habanero, chicken with green salsa, mushroom and roasted red pepper with roasted salsa

                      Then, make the tamales (assembly line) and steam them. (Steaming will take around an hour)

                      While they are steaming, enjoy some more drinks, clean up the kitchen, a little, and make some simple sides. (tamales will be the star, sides are almost unneeded.)
                      chips with leftover salsa
                      beans - get a little can of chipotle peppers in adobo. chop up one pepper for every two reg can of refrieds. Or, just make your own refrieds. Cans of beans, mash them, and saute with whatever spices you deem appropriate (cumin, coriander, a little ancho chile, salt, pepper, garlic etc..)

                      Get a 16 oz container of s cream, and add a few of those chipotle peppers to it and the juice of one lime. Throw it in the blender. This will be one of the best simplest sauces you will ever have.

                      Also, you can make dessert tamales with chocolate, raisins. I do one with chocolate and ancho chile. Spicy chocolate is fantastic!!!!

                      Oooh - tip - a decent sized cheese spreader, or smallish spatula, works very well to spread the dough into the husks.

                      1. re: gordeaux

                        gordeaux (a Fat French Mexican? ooh, sorry), yours is my idea of a great party. Tamales, for sure. When I had tamale parties in the US, I always had one or 2 fillings (beef in a red sauce and/ or pork or chicken in a green sauce) already prepared (usually just had one filling), plus I prepared the masa dough and sides ahead. We put grated jack and canned green chiles in them in those days along with the chicken or whatever. Everybody had fun, and we just had beer and margaritas with chips and guac, salsas (especially a nice pico de gallo), crudites (jícama, carrot, celery with lime and a sprinkle of chile) while we waited for the tamales to steam. I don't like eating beans and rice with tamales, they are heavy. But you could do a salad, Now that I live in México, somebody else makes the tamales and I haven't done them for years! BTW, where I live, the tamales are filled with all kinds of things, including shrimp, beef, chicken or pork with chunks of potato and carrot, sweet stuff like yams or pineapple, or nothing at all, just a sweet corn dough! Hope Eat Nopal drops in to give her advice. Dee

                        1. re: MazDee

                          You guys are amazing. Now I wish May would arrive more quickly.

                          1. re: sarah galvin

                            You don't have to wait til May, there are so many Mexican holidays! They just aren't celebrated in the US (and 5 de Mayo isn't celebrated much in México). Yesterday was a national holiday, Benito Juarez Day, and a 3 day weekend. The really big holiday here is Independence Day and that is Sept 16, so still bbq time in lots of places. You could just google Mexican holidays and go for it! Have a fiesta!

                            1. re: MazDee

                              I have already invited friends for Saturday, May 3, alas.

                          2. re: MazDee

                            Whoah, whoah.... I am going to have to drop my shorts, so that I am no longer described as a her =)

                            1. re: Eat_Nopal

                              You are a he? And you can cook?? Amazing!!!

                              1. re: sarah galvin

                                "You are a he? And you can cook?? Amazing!!!" What planet are we on???

                                Anyway, a group tamale making party is the only way to go. Just cook and shred pork and chicken ahead of time. Getting the masa light and fluffy and the corn husks (you need lots) ready by soaking are key. Make sure your steamer pot and racks are huge.

                                1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                  Hey, Sam. You are doing some cut and paste here! I do have a huge pot, use it for making tomato sauce for canning in the fall. Can I stack them? I'm thinking I could have a rack on the bottom and then another above the first layer of vertical tamales.

                                  1. re: sarah galvin

                                    Cut and paste?

                                    During the peach harvest and packing in the Central valley of California in the 50s & 60s we had a woman from Oaxaca or Chiapas do the lunch preparation for the family--over many seasons. She made the best tamales on the planet--over all time. All fron scratch. And I've since worked a lot all over Mexico. I first learned from her, stealing morning or later minutes getting out of the sun, the humidity, the peach fuzz, the hurry, the sweat and swearing, the pretty packing girls, the tractor, the forklift, the pure drudgery...

                                    Stack away. Oddly (or not), tight stacking works better than loose

                                      1. re: sarah galvin

                                        Thank you. I am--although I sometimes forget. Keep us posted as to the outcomes.

                                    1. re: sarah galvin

                                      I remembered another few tricks for you since you have my mind in tamale making mode:

                                      1. The cold water trick. Once you have prepared your dough - remember, cream/whip your fat PLENTY. I usually do it until it triples in volume. When your dough is completed, and all combined and whatnot - place a small nugget of it in a glass of cold water. The nugget should be the size of oh, I don't know - a raspberry. If it floats in the cold water, your dough will be light and fluffy when steamed. If it sinks, your dough will be dense and hard. TRUST me - it is MUCH easier to cream/whip the fat before hand than after when it is already incorporated into everything else. PLease, please trust me on this. WHIP your fat until it triples in volume. Hand mixer, about 15 minutes. If you have a kitchenaid, this is one of the greatest uses.

                                      2. The coin trick. You should steam your tamales at a pretty rolling boil. Sometimes, you will need to add water to the pot. If you put a coin in the bottom of the pot, it will rattle violently when the water level is too low, and make a bunch of noise. Two times, I have become busy with something else while my beloved tamales were steaming away, and I missed the chance to add water after the steam escaped. Once you run out of water, and your pot starts to burn, your tamales are ruined, and your house will stink something fierce. Once you smell it, it's too late. The pan will have some burnt drippings of tamale dough, and the burnt smell of the pot, and the drippings will have imparted their flavors into your delicate dough. Toss them. They will be horrible.

                                      1. re: gordeaux

                                        Thx, gordeaux. These are very practical, useful tips. With all this help, I'm confident my first tamales will be very nice ;)

                                    2. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                      A bamboo chinese steamer in the wok works great for me for steaming tamales.

                                      1. re: chef chicklet

                                        I have been told by the experts that tamales should be steamed vertically rather than horizontally. I'm thinking that a wok wouldn't be deep enough.

                                        1. re: sarah galvin

                                          I have been making them for quite a few years and the Mexican family that taught me did stack them inside the bamboo steamer. When she saw my steamer and wok she was thrilled and we stacked them on top of one another and away we steamed them. I always cook them this way now,when the water gets a little low I just add hot water from the tea pot. Plenty deep in my big old wok. The wok gets really hot too (carbon steel).

                                          The meat is cooked when you make them and the masa takes about 45 minutes. I don't make them HUGE either. OH so delicious!

                                          I make green and red (chicken and pork), so I am usually making a huge amount of tamales and its an all day project. I'd be in the weeds without my setup.

                                          You might want to try different ways, then choose which works best for you. What do other people use???

                                          1. re: chef chicklet

                                            Big stainless leaf-sided fold-out steamer in a big, heavy pot.

                                            1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                              I can do that, guess I could try it. My little steamer fold out thingy, doesn't look like it would hold too many. Do you stack them or stand them up? end to end?

                                              1. re: chef chicklet

                                                The fold-out steamers come in various sizes. One of mine is the biggest I've ever seen. I stack tamales, but will give standing on end a try next time.

                                                1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                  hmmmm. I tie both ends with corn husks strips that is why I pile them on top of each other...

                              2. re: gordeaux

                                What an easy sauce. I will try it. Thanks for tips.

                                1. re: gordeaux

                                  If you are adding the fat (lard it is for me) what we do is beat it with the mixer and then test it in a glass of water like you do old fashion fudge. You drop a small ball of masa into the water and if it floats to the top, it is ready. If you buy the masa preparada, this should have been done but I would try this test and whip a little bit more if necessary.

                              3. http://www.chowhound.com/topics/354880

                                Found this topic regarding tamales, it might help you...lots of good tamale/sauce discussion.

                                1. I like to make a Mexican pot roast ahead of time and then shred it for the meat part of anything Mexican you would like to make. Great for enchiladas or your guests can built their own tacos. Delish.

                                  1. Mexican Restaurant Rice

                                    This makes a dry, fluffy, restaurant style, Mexican rice.
                                    This recipe is in my own words and not copied from any source.


                                    2 cups long grain white rice, rinsed
                                    1/3 cup canola oil
                                    1 medium white onion (3/4 cup), diced
                                    2 teaspoons (or 4 cloves) minced garlic
                                    2 cups chicken broth
                                    1 Tablespoon tomato paste
                                    2 Tablespoons canned, mild green chilis
                                    1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste (depending on saltiness of chicken broth)
                                    1 (14oz) can diced tomatoes, with liquid
                                    1/2 cup fresh cilantro, diced


                                    Preheat oven to 350-F. - Bake 30 minutes total, stirring after 15-minutes.

                                    Place rice in strainer and rinse under running water until it runs clear.
                                    About 2-minutes. This is important to create non-sticky restaurant style rice.
                                    Drain rice, making sure to shake out as much water as possible.

                                    Heat canola oil to medium high in a dutch oven (3qt to 6qt) on the stove top.
                                    Drop a few rice grains in the oil. When they sizzle, add all remaining rice.
                                    Stir constantly and fry rice until it is light golden and translucent, about 6-8 minutes.

                                    Add onions and stir into rice. Cook while stirring about 2 more minutes.
                                    Add garlic and stir for another minute.

                                    Stir in chicken broth, tomato paste, green chilis and diced tomatoes.
                                    Stir well and bring to a boil.

                                    When rice reaches a boil, place lid on dutch oven and place in 350-F preheated oven.

                                    Bake 15-minutes then open oven and stir well. Replace dutch oven lid and bake
                                    another 15 to 20-minutes until done.

                                    Remove from oven and stir in chopped cilantro.

                                    Let rest covered about 10-minutes to allow cilantro flavor to be absorbed by the rice.

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: Antilope

                                      This looks like a great recipe. Once again, I have to thank everyone for their tremendous help. I had no idea Mexican cuisine was so complicated. I have narrowed it down to making tamales ( I like the roasted salsa idea and adding corn and cheese). So it will be that plus a traditional pork. From the pork we will also make carnitas. We will have a roasted tomatillo salsa, a pico de gallo and the sour cream chipotle with lime juice idea. I will make some ceviche ahead of time, as a treat while we work away. Also like the Aztec salad and love chili relleno but it might be too much food for one night.

                                      I am still wondering about a dessert. I have the Bon Appetit May 2003 issue featuring Mexico. There is a recipe called Sweet Fritters with Cinnamon-Orange Syrup. Has anyone any experience with something like this? I also have a cookbook called "Mexican Cookbook devoted to American Homes" written byJosefina Velazquez de Leon. She has a recipe for Esoletado or in English, Lady Finger Dessert.

                                      Thanks to Antilope, gsshark, The Dairy Queen, JungMann ,jsaimd, Dee S,chef chicklet, gordeaux, and others and also to Eat_Nopal.

                                      1. re: sarah galvin

                                        We usually do a flan with Kaluha in the sugar syrup or a tres leches cake.

                                        Another idea that would be really light after tamales would be gazpachos. In Morelia this is street food. Diced fruits such as pineapple, mango, grapes, papayas, etc. with a little fresh orange juice in a skinny glass topped with lime juice and chile powder. Sometimes it is also topped with a sweetened yoghurt.

                                    2. Some of the amazing Mexican things I have eaten Chez Nopal:

                                      Summer Taquiza (Taco party)
                                      Tacos of:
                                      - grilled Chipotle chicken
                                      - Tequila Vanilla Shrimp
                                      -Mole Negro with hardboiled egg slices and roasted cactus (could sub green beans)

                                      Sopes of black bean refritos and stewed squash
                                      Veracruz Spicy Crab Soup...gawd!
                                      He also makes the best hot chocolate that I have ever experienced.

                                      Why, why did I move away!?

                                      1. Here are some more ideas - We hosted a fun Chowhound Cinco de Mayo party last year. I posted the menu, links, and lots of the 'Hounds who came also posted their recipes:

                                        Cinco de Mayo report (with pics)

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. Hi Sarah.... if you still need any more ideas, I can certainly help. I think at its soul Mexican cuisine is very regional and thus adaptable... if you can give me a sense of what Calgary is all about / best ingredients etc., and what your plating style (small plates vs. 5 course dinner vs., homestyle etc.,) and can provide some suggestions.

                                          For me... the perfect interactive, social dinner party would be 3 courses served homestyle

                                          19 Replies
                                          1. re: Eat_Nopal

                                            This will definitely be served home style. Everybody has had flan so I was shying away from that for dessert. I think I'll have the appy's made in advance so we can munch while we make the rest. I'm stumped for dessert. I checked another thread and saw lime curd tarts with mango and that looked good. We don't have a good source of a lot of the authentic ingredients - fresh. I think chocolate would be too heavy. Not much help am I. :) Thx

                                            1. re: sarah galvin

                                              If you are going Homestyle than I would highly recommend a Taquiza (stacks of homemade tortillas, cazuelitas & platters with various fillings, some garnishes & salsas... then everybody makes their Tacos).

                                              What is Calgary like in May... high in the mid 50s? How about a liquer size, spicy hot chocolate paired with a petite serving of deconstructed Capirotada (bread pudding in a dark, spiced syrup... studded with nuts, cheese & dried fruit).

                                              Other common desserts in Mexico... tres leches cakes, roasted plantains, yams, honeyed fruits of every type, cheesecakes, layered pastries with various tropical cremas, mango mousse, homemade jellos made from interesting things like Sherry, goat milk caramel, vanilla, coffee & milk etc.,

                                              1. re: Eat_Nopal

                                                No, it isn't mid 50's! It could be but more likely to be in the 70's so hot chocolate season is way past. But I like the spicy chocolate idea. It seems to be all the buzz, and although maybe not tipico, would be fun to try. Right now is mango season for us so not sure what we'll have in May. We can get the goat milk caramel. I like that idea. Maybe a layered pastry with the goat milk caramel and sliced fresh fruits in season. And a small scoop of Hagen Daaz Vanilla Bean ice cream. I think that's it! Thank you Eat_Nopal.

                                                1. re: sarah galvin

                                                  It might be a little redundant, but even for kicks, and a new take on what you might not be accustomed to:

                                                  Desert tamales!

                                                  Dough - no savory components. Filling: raisins, chocolate pieces, nuts. Add some powdered cocoa and sugar to the dough. I do these every time I make a batch of tamales. They are quite good. Your mexican grocer might even have a tub of strawberry or pineapple dough premade in the refrig case next to the reg dough. Just a thought. They're worth it, and you'll already be in Tamale production mode.

                                                  Ooh. I just thought of something. Cinnamon would be good for these too. I'm going to make some cinnamon ones next time.

                                                  1. re: gordeaux

                                                    I have never seen tamale dough pre-made in Calgary! But I like this idea. It would be novel and like you say, we are already in the tamale production mode. Do you steam them like regular tamales? I'm going to have to go out and buy some more bamboo steamers. What fun :)

                                                    1. re: sarah galvin

                                                      They are steamed the same way. They are very prevalent in Mexico, and US cities with a decent sized mexican population. One thing I should make clear since you mentioned bamboo steamers. Tamales should be steamed upright. I'm just wondering if the steamers you had in mind would have enough room. I usually use a deep Pasta pot with the pasta insert. I also have a "Tamale pot"which is just a deep wide stock pot with an insert like a round cake cooling rack that sits on the bottom. You are supposed to layer the insert with corn husks, and stand the tamales on top of it.

                                                      For desert tamales, the dough is pretty much the same, just no savory components like ground chile, broth, or onion/garlic powder etc. Just use the masa mix, water, fat, sugar, and the other parts of the dough recipe you are using - I generally throw some cocoa powder in it. If you do add chocolate, your house will smell absolutely WONDERFUL when they are steaming.

                                                      1. re: gordeaux

                                                        Steamed upright? That I didn't know. Well that will make it easier actually. Can fit more into one pot. See - I know nothing! We are so removed from the culture in Canada.

                                                  2. re: sarah galvin

                                                    Spicy Chocolate es muy tipico... actually muy antiguo.... and I like a reduction of it with fresh mango slices.

                                                    Crepes with Pecans & Cajeta (Goat Milk Caramel) are another tipico, well liked dessert in Mexico... so maybe pairing the Spicy Chocolate & Mango with a miniature Crepe & Cajeta could be great... if you want to be really decadent... Deep Fried Ice Cream is another iconic Mexican dessert.... Goat Cheese ice cream is a contemporary favorite in Mexico City ice cream parlours.... maybe some nut crusted, deep fried goat cheese ice cream on the plate... well maybe over the top.

                                                    1. re: Eat_Nopal

                                                      I make Mexican-style crepes pretty often, not only for desert but filled with like this homemade blackbean puree and a roasted pepper sauce - usually jalepenos and red bells. Butfor the desert crepes (or any other I guess) you should really try to find dried pasilla chiles... they have this really sweet, cinamon-like background to them that's really great in both sweet and savory dishes. You can then just toast them and grind them up in a coffee grinder to make powder.

                                                      1. re: johnmlinn

                                                        Ah yes savory crepes.... Poblano strips & Cream... classic, as is Huitlacoche.... I guess if you added a few drops of a good quality truffle oil & some sauteed mushrooms to your blackbean puree you could pull off a Huitlacoche Crepe imitation (assuming you don't have a good source of it).

                                                        Pasillas are great.... some find them to be an acquired taste for their tobacco / burnt rubber-ish aromas... but I guess a sweet Pasilla escabeche paired with an interesting ice cream could make for a killer desert crepe.

                                                        1. re: Eat_Nopal

                                                          Now you are just full of ideas. Pasilla escabeche? Je ne comprende.

                                                          1. re: sarah galvin

                                                            Are you familiar with Escabeches? They are a pickling preparation involving vinegar, onions, garlic, spices & herbs... you can commonly find canned pickled Jalapenos en escabeche (although homemade is another universe).... less common are dried Chiles en escabeche but Anchos & Pasillas in a Piloncillo (dark unrefined sugar) sweetened version are a speciality in Central Mexico. The Tepoznieves chain even offers it as a sorbet flavor.

                                                            1. re: Eat_Nopal

                                                              Now you are forcing me to Tepoznieves in Tijuana Saturday.

                                                              1. re: Eat_Nopal

                                                                I can't imagine it with ice cream! That is where the neurons don't connect. Do you have a recipe for Anchos & Pasillas in a Piloncillo. I know I can find piloncillo here and dried anchos. Remind me again what Pasillas are.

                                                                1. re: sarah galvin

                                                                  Pasilla is a type of dried chile that is called Chilaca in its green stage. It is a close ancestor of the pepper aka New Mexico, Anaheim or California.

                                                                  For a recipe... let me look for my Bayless book

                                                            2. re: Eat_Nopal

                                                              Ho boy, you hit the nail on the head. One of my fav restaurants, Eduardo de San Angel in Fort Lauderdale, does a huitlacoche crepe that is ridiculous. Insane even. I should try to find out where the Chef sources them from. :-D (Eduardo Pria, by the by).

                                                            3. re: johnmlinn

                                                              Pasilla chilies. I am going to look for them this week. After I make powder, would I add it to chocolate? To make a spicy chocolate?

                                                              1. re: sarah galvin

                                                                Pasilla powder is awesome in chocolate, especially hot chocolate. Actually, I don't have a secondary coffee grinder for doing spices because I usually just use a mortar and pestle. But that's a freakish amount of cranking to do on dried chilies, so I used my regular coffee grinder to do the pasillas last time. Let's just say morning coffee has been extra tasty this week. :-P

                                                            4. re: Eat_Nopal

                                                              Hey, I just looked in my Bon Appetit May 2003 and there is a recipe for Crepas de Cajeta con Nuez!

                                                    2. Well, the big night is almost here. Saturday we will be making our Mexican dinner. My final decision on the menu is to have the tamales as the interactive part. I will roast a chicken and have already roasted a whole pork butt and it is in the freezer. I'll refresh it in the oven the day of. I will make in advance - ceviche for snacking while we work. I will also make salsa verde and salsa roja and pico de gallo. I love the idea using a chipotle or two in a small tub of sour cream and puree in food processor. So we will make chicken and pork tamales. While they are steaming, we will have carnitas with corn tortillas, enfrijoladas and classic red rice. We will make a big batch of tamales and everyone can take a couple home with them. Dessert will simply be grilled pineapple with a tequila and grown sugar glaze. I think this is a ton of food. Oh, and I think I will make an avocado & tomatillo salsa.